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Colorado Springs Criminal Law Blog

What is a warrant and what should you do if served one?

Picture it. You're sitting at home, minding your own business. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. When you answer, you're greeted by a few of Colorado's finest police officers. They say they have a warrant to search your home. 

What is a warrant, and what can you do if served one? Do you have any rights in this kind of situation? 

Know the facts re marijuana and CDOT regulations

You may be one of many people who frequently visit or live in the city at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains known as Colorado Springs. From beautiful sandstone formations to expansive mountain views, the area attracts thousands of tourists annually, some of whom eventually become permanent residents. If you also happen to among those who flock to this region because you're glad about the recreational marijuana laws the state has enacted, you are definitely not alone in your opinions. 

Colorado's marijuana laws are some of the most lenient in the nation. You should be aware, however, that you can use the drug in a private setting but can't smoke it then get behind the wheel of a car to drive. If prosecutors charge you with DUI and prove that your bloodstream contained at least five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol, the court may hand down a conviction. If you understand your rights and know where to seek support if a problem arises, you may be able to avoid serious, long-lasting problems. 

When your Colorado college experience includes drug problems

If you were to say that partying is sometimes part of your college life, you definitely wouldn't be the only student to admit this. In fact, some people say partying is merely a typical aspect of college life in Colorado and most other states. If you are age 21 or beyond, then imbibing alcohol, for instance, is not necessarily against school rules or state laws. If you happen to live on a dry campus, it can definitely cause a problem.

Approximately 30 percent of U.S. college students say they engage in binge drinking. Some consider alcohol a highly addictive substance, so consuming copious amounts of it on frequent occasions may not be the best idea. Some believe drinking alcohol often leads to other drug addictions. Drug problems can thwart plans to earn a degree. If you run into drug-related trouble at school, knowing what type of support is available may help you get academics (and life) back on track.

Did officers follow proper procedure when arresting you for DUI?

Flashing blue lights. Cold handcuffs. The back of a police car. Before you could even process what was happening, you may have found yourself under arrest for driving under the influence. You may not have felt that you drank too much or that your driving constituted an officer pulling you over, but now you face criminal charges, likely with little understanding of how to properly address the predicament.

Fortunately, you do not have to make any decisions without the guidance of an attorney, if you wish to obtain the help of one. When facing criminal charges for DUI, you may think that few options exist for getting out of the situation with your innocence intact. However, many factors could play into your defense presentation, and some of that information could relate to how the arresting officer handled your case.

You can face DUI charges even if you never imbibed

Many people are glad about the new marijuana laws in Colorado. The state has decriminalized cannabis; however, you can't use marijuana and operate a motor vehicle under its influence. Choosing to do so can cause you to face DUI charges in court. Like most people, you know that alcohol consumption may lead to such charges as well. Do you also realize there are certain situations that can result in such charges even if you never used marijuana or imbibed an alcoholic beverage?

Concerning traffic stops and DUI charges, much depends on a police officer's assessment of a situation. Say you see something lying in the road and swerve a bit to avoid it. Perhaps that happens again just moments later. If a police officer happens to be driving behind you, the next thing you see might be flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror if the officer thinks your car swerved because you are intoxicated. Arming yourself with information ahead of time may help you avoid intoxicated driving conviction.

Colorado law helps some people avoid prison through drug court

There are many underlying reasons that you or others in Colorado may develop habits regarding certain substances in an effort to achieve a desired effect. If you've been struggling with drug addiction, you are one of tens of millions throughout the nation in similar circumstances. As diverse as factors often leading to drug addiction happen to be, so too are the reasons many people hesitate to ask for help to overcome their substance abuse problems. Some never reach out for support until they encounter drug-related legal problems.

If a police officer recently arrested you and prosecutors have since charged you with a drug crime, you probably have a lot on your mind right now. Lawmakers in Colorado have implemented an alternate system of justice for which many adults facing drug charges are eligible. The program, known as drug court, is designed to help people avoid going to prison upon conviction of drug crimes.

Did a search and seizure result in your facing drug charges?

If you come under suspicion of criminal drug activity, authorities may open an investigation into your situation. You may or may not be aware that this investigation is underway, but one day, police and detectives may show up at your doorstep, demanding to search your home. Because these affairs often take place in a whirlwind, you may wonder whether you even have to allow these individuals into your residence.

Often, if an investigation takes place, authorities generally work to obtain enough evidence for a judge to grant them a search warrant. This warrant essentially acts as a ticket for police to enter your home and conduct a search. However, the search warrant must meet necessary requirements.

Driving high could kill your buzz, you and other motorists

Were you one of the many Colorado residents who cheered the passing of the law that made recreational use of marijuana legal here in the state? Having the option to enjoy the buzz (and the potential medicinal benefits) of this drug without worrying about getting arrested may have made your year.

However, the ability to use marijuana doesn't negate the fact that you can't drive while high. Not only is doing so dangerous for you and others on the road, but you could also end up facing charges for driving under the influence of drugs.

Don't be surprised that you 'failed' that field sobriety test

Lights and sirens behind you immediately cause anxiety and probably raise your blood pressure as well. As you pull over, you may wonder what it was you did to draw the attention of the officer. As the two of you begin discussing the situation, the officer may ask you to exit the vehicle.

At this point, the officer begins asking you if you had anything to drink. Now you may understand that he or she suspects you of drinking and driving. Even though you could refuse, you agree to participate in field sobriety tests believing that you will pass with flying colors. Unfortunately, the officer claims that you failed and places you under arrest. You just became part of the approximately one-third of all of the sober people who fail these tests.

How's your balance? The answer may impact your future

Some people are extremely coordinated and can perform feats that demonstrate great balance and agility. You may be part of that group or you may be among many in Colorado who can barely walk across a room without tripping over your own two feet. Everyone is different in talent and skills that involve physical tests of ability. That's why if a police officer ever asks you to take a field sobriety test, you may want to think long and hard about complying before doing so.

There is no automatic repercussion for refusing to take a FST as there typically is in most states for Breathalyzer refusal. However, if a police officer already suspects you of drunk driving, you may not be doing yourself a service by refusing to take the FST upon request. If you know what to expect and how to protect your rights, you may be able to avoid major legal problems.

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